Saturday, January 12, 2013
Day 5: Mouth Trouble
I didn't think so. Neither do mine. :)
Of course, the truth is, all children struggle at times with their MOUTH. (If we're really telling the truth, adults do, too!)
Disrespecting, back-talking, sassing, complaining, grumbling, fussing, whining, tattling......there are many ways for little ones to respond inappropriately with their mouths.
I want to share with you all two gentle, graceful ways to respond to our children AND teach them to use their mouths in age-appropiate, thoughtful, respectful ways. (I will split this post into two days.)
Proverbs 24:16, "A just man falleth SEVEN times, and riseth yet again....."
Matthew 18:21, 22, "Then Peter came to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."
We serve a God of second-chances!
Now, we do not want to allow disrespectful or unkind words from our children to be ignored.
But, depending on the situation, it can be very helpful to immediately request a "re-do"; in other words---give them a second chance.
In our home, it would look something like this:
Let's say I call Noah (6) over to me and say, "Noah, I need you to pick up all of the toys in the living room, please." He responds with, "But Mo-oom! I didn't even play with those toys!" in a whiny tone of voice. I stop him, get eye-contact and say, "Noah, stop right now. Try again with RESPECT, please." Because he knows I will listen if he uses respect, he tries again, sweetly this time. "Mommy, I didn't play in the living room." I give him a quick hug and say, "I know you didn't, buddy. But I still need you to clean it up for me. What should you say to Mommy now?" He grins a bit sheepishly and replies, "Yes, Ma'am!" and off he runs.
Now, I know some of you are thinking----She just let him ARGUE with her! I know you're thinking that, because there was a time when I thought the very same thing.:)
I have realized over the years, however, that my children are not ROBOTS. They do not exist to robotically move throughout the day, obeying my every whim and command. They are miniature people, with all of the same thoughts, feelings, and emotions that adults have---and with not nearly the same ability to process or control them.
Unless you have completely mastered the art of ALWAYS submitting to all authority without ever giving your opinion or asking for an appeal.......then do not expect your tiny little ones to be able to do so, either. Have high goals----but realistic expectations.
YES, they absolutely should obey your authority. And YES, there are many ways to teach them to do so! I am not encouraging you to let your children tell you what to do or control you. :)
What I AM encouraging you to do is to teach your children that you will be glad to listen to respectful words. (Sometimes that just equates to "Yes, Ma'am".) But then you really must take the time to listen to them when they talk. :)
You can SCRIPT the correct words for little ones by offering a "re-do" anytime they respond inappropriately.
There are FOUR STEPS to a really effective RE-DO.
1. Stop the child immediately. ("Lyssie, stop. Those are yucky words.")
2. Get good eye-contact. ("Look at Mommy.")
3. Ask them to try again with respect. (With younger children, you may need to "script" the words for them, like this, "Lyssie, I need you to talk nicely to Mommy. Say, 'yes, Mommy'".)
4. Praise them! (No need to make a huge deal, but a simple "good words, sweetheart!" or "nice job of using respect!" can really bring a smile to your child's face. Don't underestimate the power of positive praise.)
You can use a re-do when a child argues, when they whine, when they say "NO", when they use the right words but the wrong tone, whenever they are struggling with making good choices with their MOUTH.
There are times when a re-do is all it takes to guide, teach, and correct your child. Don't take it to the "next level" if you don't need to.
Later in this series, I will explain what I do when a child does NOT respond to the re-do.
And tomorrow, I will share the SECOND gentle way to teach our children to respond appropriately with their mouths.
P.S. This technique is VERY helpful when dealing with older adopted children, especially when there is a language barrier. Learning English PLUS godly ways of responding to authority takes a long time and requires alot of re-do moments. I recommend making it a permanent tool in your "parenting tool box". :)